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getting out the WORD - the 9th sunday after pentecost
Written by Pastor Bob   
Wednesday, 09 August 2017 11:50

the PRAYER...
Glorious God, your generosity waters the world with goodness, and you cover creation with abundance. Awaken in us a hunger for the food that satisfies both body and spirit, and with this food fill all the starving world; through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

the READING...
Jesus said to [the disciples], "They need not go away; you give them something to eat."

Matthew 14:13-21

the DEVOTION...
If nothing else, we Americans are a "can do" people! Shoulder-to-the-wheel! Nose-to-the-grindstone! Anything-is-possible! We take real pride in our independence, our resourcefulness, our self-sufficiency. Land of opportunity - that's what we call it - if only you make the effort! That's what we expect from ourselves; that's what we expect of our neighbors!

This week, Jesus, the disciples, and the crowd are together in a not-so-deserted place. The day's just about over and the disciples come and tell Jesus to send the crowd away... SO THAT THEY MAY BUY FOOD FOR THEMSELVES! Sounds pretty American! No hand outs! No free meals! Let them fend for themselves just like god intends! But then, in one verse, Jesus undoes it all. "They need not go away; you give them something to eat!" Compassion! Charity! Love! It's not up to "them"; it's up to the disciples! It's up to us!

Faith isn't what we do for ourselves, it's what god does for us! And believing isn't what we do for god; it's what we do - because of god - for the people around us! "You," says Jesus, "you give them something!"

Bob Barndt, pastor

 
getting out the WORD - the 8th sunday after pentecost
Written by Pastor Bob   
Wednesday, 02 August 2017 12:10

the PRAYER...
Beloved and sovereign God, through the death and resurrection of your Son you bring us into your kingdom of justice and mercy. By your Spirit, give us your wisdom, that we may treasure the life that comes from Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

the READING...
So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth...

Matthew 13:31-33 , Matthew 13:44-52

the DEVOTION...
From all the billboards and bumper stickers, you'd think it's a done deal! "Eternity is Hell without Jesus," they say! "Heaven or Hell - it's your choice!" And so, like a moth, every time I read this passage, I'm drawn to the fire and to the weeping and the gnashing! But it's kind of funny. It's all, pretty much, unique to Matthew and Matthew alone...

Right from the start, Matthew's "gospel" is full of separations! Fruitful trees from unfruitful! Grain from chaff! Always two groups; an eternal either/or. Wheat and weeds! Good fish, bad fish! Sheep, goats! Matthew draws a line in the sand. And when he does, he draws it straight and he draws it deep.

So sometimes, every now and then, it's good, after reading a passage, just to sit back, relax, and remember... The truth-whole-truth-and-nothing-but isn't about the outer darkness! Or unquenchable fire. It's about Jesus! Sun-rising-on-evil-and-good Jesus! Rain-falling-on-righteous-and-not Jesus! Gift! Unearned! Undeserved! When you get right down to it, the bible doesn't say a whole lot about heaven OR hell! But it speaks volumes about god's love... in, with, and under Jesus! So help us god!

Bob Barndt, pastor

 
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